Off and running: Observations from IU’s first practice

Photo credit: IndianaMBB on Twitter

The college basketball season officially got underway earlier this evening with ESPNU’s broadcast of “Midnight Madness: Indiana practice,” which was hosted by Bram Weinstein, Jay Williams and Dan Dakich. (If you have access to ESPN3, you can watch a replay here.)

Here are some notes, observations and also some quotes from Tom Crean from the broadcast:

· A couple of injury-related observations: Sophomore guard Remy Abell’s left wrist was heavily taped (the photo above shows a black brace, but there was heavy white tape on the broadcast), but he participated in all of the drills. Freshman big man Peter Jurkin, meanwhile, was mostly a spectator with white tape over his nose in the contact drills. Jurkin’s injury occurred earlier this week in a workout. Neither injury was mentioned specifically on the broadcast. Cody Zeller also had a black left eye.

9:41 a.m. update: Freshman center Peter Jurkin stood off to the side for the majority of IU’s opening practice that was aired on ESPNU with a white bandage on his nose. Inside the Hall has learned via sources that Jurkin suffered a broken nose, which explains the bandage and why he was inactive for most of the broadcast. He is not expected to miss a significant amount of time due to the injury.

· One of the first drills showed Victor Oladipo putting ball pressure on Austin Etherington and Jeremy Hollowell and knocking the ball loose. Crean, wearing a mic, said this: “Good, Victor, good, Victor. Guys, yesterday should have taught you that. He’s going for steals. Good, good, Vic, dominate the drill, Vic. All day long.”

· Redshirt junior guard Maurice Creek participated for the entire broadcast and wore white pads on both knees. Creek looked to be moving better than he did when he returned in the fall of 2010. Crean said Creek doesn’t have all of his athleticism back, but “the confidence is back.”

· Yogi Ferrell had a strong upper body in high school, but looked noticeably bigger than he did over the summer in the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star game. That’s key for Ferrell as the Big Ten is arguably the most physical league in the country. Hanner Mosquera-Perea also looked to have made significant offseason gains in the weight room.

· Here’s a look at the new shoes and socks that were worn by the team. The shoes were the new adidas D Rose 3.

· Crean was asked by Dakich about how he’ll manage the off-court attention the players will receive as a result of being a highly ranked team. “I think the one thing that’s never changed, even when we weren’t playing well, is they were getting a lot of attention,” Crean said. “It was the wrong kind of attention in the sense of the negativity, but the school has always held the basketball players with such high esteem. I think they’ve had to learn to handle that since they’ve been here. And I think now the biggest thing is we’ve got really good kids, there’s a maturity about them. It’s not like we’re not going to make mistakes. It’s not like we’re not going to have issues. But the bottom line is, they’re pretty driven to do what they want to do. And I think it shows in a lot of areas. It definitely shows in their academics.”

· Crean was also asked about finding minutes with such a talented and deep roster. “I think that takes care of itself. It’s like starting lineups. I mean the bottom line is we want to play fast for the right reasons. We want to play faster to create more defensively. We want to play faster to get more guys to be able to play. We want to create havoc defensively and bring fatigue to the game. You can’t do that with just six, seven or eight guys. You’ve gotta be able to do that with a team full of guys that can go. And the one thing that every coach goes through and we’ve gone through it a significant amount here is you’ve got to deal with injuries. When those injuries come, you’ve got to get the point where you don’t have a drop off and you can keep moving.”

· Crean specifically mentioned building up the defense, rebounding, points per game and shots attempted per game as key areas for this group. “As long as they buy into the hustle stats, I think this team will get better all year long.”

· Crean told Williams that Sheehey is a 365 day a year player. “Some people think they are, and a lot of people brag that people are, he actually is. There’s not time that this kid takes away from the game.”

· When Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat was in last May, Crean said he hit the guys with some different things and he hit Sheehey and Oladipo with the fact that their ball handling wasn’t close to NBA standards. Crean said both guys took that to heart and the advice was invaluable coming from someone as respected as Wade.

· Crean was asked about improving IU’s defense and he said that in the preseason, he’s gone to more defensive work than he ever has as a head coach.

· During a shell drill, Crean made it a point to Austin Etherington to get down and be ready to catch the ball. “Look how you’re standing. You’ve gotta shoot the ball for us, right? If a pass comes and you’re standing like this, you gonna knock that down? How about getting down every time. Come on, do not practice bad habits.”

· Starting lineups are often a popular topic of discussion and while Crean said in an interview earlier this week he’d like to have eight starters, Dakich speculated a lineup of Jordan Hulls, Ferrell, Oladipo, Christian Watford and Zeller with Sheehey coming off the bench.

· On a drill near the conclusion of the broadcast, Crean was directing the group on the importance of stopping dribble penetration. As the drill moved on, Crean, impressed with Ferrell’s off the ball defense, stopped everybody and said, “Good, Yogi. You learn to do that, we’re rolling. We’re rolling. Stay with it. Good job, Yogi. Do it again.”

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Meyers Leonard could testify to your statement without question. He learned real quick last year that the Big Ten was not his playground to bully. Silly Leonard. He tried to punk out a 7 footer who has two 7 footers for older brothers. #CodyZellergettingthelastlaugh

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.evers.7 Brandon Evers

    The funny thing is,i remember when coach Crean was hired. Nobody on this site wanted him as coach. So i go back to the old post and sure enough everybody said he couldn’t win without D Wade. Everyone was saying Next,not worth the buyout clause ect. I see why IU hired him,being a good recruiter,good motivator.passionate coach. And most of all a great person. So Proud of being a Hoosier with Coach being the new General!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.evers.7 Brandon Evers

    Or if you wait a week or so,you can watch on Youtube. Last year had some really good versions of Hoosier Hysteria and its free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.evers.7 Brandon Evers

    The one thing i would’ve liked to see is a scrimmage. Do all those drills before the taping on ESPNU. Then on air do a scrimmage,bc all those drills did nothing for me. You really couldn’t see what the team is going to be like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.evers.7 Brandon Evers

    That’s why it’s called his beard!!! Its like me saying you need a hair cut. Or why are you wearing that shirt ect? I tell them people i’m grown,i do what i want to do mind ur own business.

  • marcusgresham

    I haven’t seen a square set of shoulders like that in an IU uniform since Scott May.

  • Andrew

    Larry Bird

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.betold Claude Henry Askins

    He had a couple of strong moves on the telecast. Looks quick and strong and protected the basketball.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Scrimmaging isn’t gonna make them a top team, I don’t care if ESPN is there, I want them working.. And we got to see Vic’s jump shot, got to see the freshmen in action… I enjoyed it

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I looked at the article, and even Alex in his great wisdom said something like, “I could take him or leave him, but there are definitely some guys I’d rather have.” Something along those lines.

    Crean proved the fans wrong, and hey, now they love him.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Did you see the tweet from @IndianaMBB with the second day of practices shoes? They looked much more “game day attire”-ish.

  • Derbus

    We shall ordain Yogi with a 2nd nick name: Blur! Lmao

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.evers.7 Brandon Evers

    I agree do all those drills,then the last 5 min or so do a little scrimmage. I definitely want them to work hard. A little scrimmage at the end of practice wont make them a bad team. But i enjoyed it,but wish there was more.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    Hey I just want to give some love out to Coach Wilson and our football team . They’re on the right track , for sure ! I love how they just absolutely WILL NOT QUIT ! They are getting real close to a win over some good teams . I really think good things are coming . Nothing to be ashamed of in what they are doing !

  • http://twitter.com/hoosiersmitty HoosierSmitty

    Finally had a chance to watch the practice today. I loved the intensity out there. Crean does a great job of not only critiquing his players, but complimenting them for doing the right things. I love the vibe coming from practice.

    Crean and the Hoosiers waste very little the time. The energy is high. Even basic shooting drills have high intensity and little time to rest.

    I cannot wait for this season.

    (SIDE NOTE: Jay Williams needs to learn a kid’s name before saying it on air. Can’t believe he mispronounced Yogi’s name for 90% of the show, and that ESPN let him keep doing it.)

  • http://twitter.com/hoosiersmitty HoosierSmitty

    I’m not a big fan of the “grey” color. We’re not OSU. The shoes are cool, yes, but I wasn’t a fan of them for our team.

  • http://twitter.com/hoosiersmitty HoosierSmitty

    There was even a clip of Mo Creek getting down and dirty on the floor for a loose ball. Loved seeing that.

  • b_side

    What made you think Hollowell is raw? Don’t think it’s fair to judge based on a few 1-on-1 individual drills against the likes of Vic/Sheehey. His jumper looked solid in other drills.

    I get the Hanner observation, but that was expected.

  • marcusgresham

    It seems like most of my life I’ve seen the IU football program be “almost there.” I hope this time they finally get there.

  • Derbus

    The Movement will officially become The Season in 6 days and 48 minutes. Hey Alex, how about a countdown meter?! There have been special teams the last few decades, but this one is elite. Their work ethic and camaraderie of the players ensure they will GEL all year! The athletic lineup of Cody, Yogi, Vic, Will, and Hanner is one I look foward to witnessing.

  • catronhoosier

    Agreed. Not getting blown out of games anymore always competing and showing people they are not to be brushed off. My biggest worry is once they start winning more regularly against conference teams Wilson will get a good job offer somewhere else and bolt. I like where it is going right now but we can’t sputter and continue to be building up and almost there.

  • catronhoosier

    What is great about this team is guys like oladipo and sheehey have come off the bench in their careers and played extremely well when they have. i don’t see oladipo coming off the bench but that can be hard for guys to do and to get into a rhythm but he can do it if we need him to and sheehey has almost always done it. so if lets say jeremy or hanner show that they are starters and need to get those minutes Crean can start them. I really don’t see that happening I’m just saying that the depth and maturity of this team gives us the option of doing that or something along those lines

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.stewart.54 Brian Stewart

    That’s not true. I was thrilled to death when the hired Crean!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.stewart.54 Brian Stewart

    Yeah I’m hoping those aren’t game day. Crean knows the traditions. I’m sure they will be red or white on game day.

  • IUMIKE1

    Amen to that brother Marcus !

  • IUMIKE1

    The words nobody & everybody aren’t exactly true. There was a high % that seen it as you say, but not all. I said that I wanted him when the job was given to Davis and wanted him to get it even more when they hired, the one whose name shall not be spoken. I even said that I ran into CTC right after, you know who, got the job and that I told Crean himself that he was the one that I had wanted to get the job. Also said that I could remember exactly where I was & what I was doing when his hiring was made official. Me feeling like he was the best one for the job was one of the best predictions I’ve ever made. Don’t have too many of those so forgive me if it seems like I got defensive about this one, not meant that way. Proud of being a Hoosier under CTC’s leadership as well.

  • IUMIKE1

    The words nobody & everybody aren’t exactly true. There was a high % that seen it as you say, but not all. I said that I wanted him when the job was given to Davis and wanted him to get it even more when they hired, the one whose name shall not be spoken. I even said that I ran into CTC right after, you know who, got the job and that I told Crean himself that he was the one that I had wanted to get the job. Also said that I could remember exactly where I was & what I was doing when his hiring was made official. Me feeling like he was the best one for the job was one of the best predictions I’ve ever made. Don’t have too many of those so forgive me if it seems like I got defensive about this one, not meant that way. Proud of being a Hoosier under CTC’s leadership as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174708407 Michael Shuck

    Yep. Still waiting for the reincarnation of Harry Gonzo and John Isenbarger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174708407 Michael Shuck

    Great branding? Or turning a negative into a postive. Wasn’t the real reason behind this move due to IU students on break?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174708407 Michael Shuck

    With all the Nike hype and big bucks, it is imperative if IU is sticking with Adidas that they wear and showcase gear that attracts high school recruits. IMHO, IU is at a recruiting disadvantage staying with Adidas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174708407 Michael Shuck

    With all the Nike hype and big bucks, it is imperative if IU is sticking with Adidas that they wear and showcase gear that attracts high school recruits. IMHO, IU is at a recruiting disadvantage staying with Adidas.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Yeah, I haven’t watched Crean coach a lot of practice but I loved that. He was critical, as he should be, and the practice was high energy. But he also took time to show them what they’re doing right. It also seems like they can tell every time he makes an adjustment it’s for their benefit, not just to bust them. Crean’s a great coach.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Yeah, I haven’t watched Crean coach a lot of practice but I loved that. He was critical, as he should be, and the practice was high energy. But he also took time to show them what they’re doing right. It also seems like they can tell every time he makes an adjustment it’s for their benefit, not just to bust them. Crean’s a great coach.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and Wilson will see the opportunity… A big budget, a rabid fan base (who is just WAITING to cheer on a good team) and potential to be a legend to the state… Hopefully.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    To be clear, Alex was the most receptive of him of anyone I saw on the site. No one liked the hire. But that’s why Fred is Fred. And we’re not Fred.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Yeah, stick with the D Roses, they’re state of the art and the latest trend to these guys. But this is IU, I’m sure they can make us some red and/or white pairs. We’re one of their premiere basketball schools. Also, because of our recent return to “elite” status and our television exposure this year, we’d be a great advertisement for one of their more high end products.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Yeah, stick with the D Roses, they’re state of the art and the latest trend to these guys. But this is IU, I’m sure they can make us some red and/or white pairs. We’re one of their premiere basketball schools. Also, because of our recent return to “elite” status and our television exposure this year, we’d be a great advertisement for one of their more high end products.

  • Tim Indy

    I think we can’t afford to have Hulls on the bench too much. He’s one of the best shooters in the B10 and this year he gets to play SG. All the athleticism we have is great, but JH can put a lot of points on the board, he’s a good leader, and will draw double teams to open other things up. YF, JH, VO, CW, CZ. If a player is on the rotation that has JH in, he will have more opportunities.

  • millzy32

    I don’t know anyone who criticized the hire. It was a great hire getting a young up and coming coach with great connections (pretty sure they tried to hire him and he turned IU down when they settled on Sampson). There was definitely critcism for the lack of early results due to trying to put a square peg into a round hole (aka the fact that Crean coached his system even when he didn’t have players that matched that system).
    The recruiting of Crean’s type of player for the dribble drive has finally started to bare fruit. Getting Cody Zeller to come to IU was the be all end all in recruiting. If Cody is playing at UNC right now the “get rid of the coach” talk would be hot and heavy. Thank God for Crean’s recruiting ability and thank God that Cody said yes.

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